In New England, there is a very short window during the summer – measured in weeks - when almost everything in the vegetable garden is simultaneously ripe for picking. Today was one of those days. As a result, tonight’s dinner was one of those meals that deserves to be memoralized.
As an ‘appetizer’, there were five perfect ears of corn, so sweet they needed no spice to enhance their flavor. Picked at 6 p.m., they were eaten before 7:30. A little butter and they were heavenly. That appetizer course was followed by a second amuse bouche: a pair of artichokes. Most artichokes are flown in from cool marine valleys in California. This one was ‘vernalized’ beginning in February and planted in mid-May. The two artichokes from the harvest were small but incredibly delicious.
There was a salad made of lettuce, tomatoes, arugula, beets and beet greens – all picked today. There could have been carrots to go into the salad, but they would have been too much.
For the main course there was a small piece of steak, and accompanying that steak was a mountain of chard and green beans picked that afternoon. There was also fresh yellow and green squash, but we were too full. It was cooked to be eaten at a later date - like tomorrow.
Apart from the steak and the butter (oh, all right, and the gin, tonic and lime), everything we ate came from our garden. We ate until we were full; no need for dessert. I know that in Boston, there are restaurants that charge a significant premium for such ‘guaranteed localvore’ fare; our meal was paid for with our sweat and gardening smarts.
Absent this post, tonight’s meal would likely have been forgotten by January. This is a meal I want to remember. To the glory of July 23!